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Personal Development Plan

Contents of personal development portfolio for overseas dental practitioners

If you are planning to work as a dentist in the UK you will need to consider preparing a personal development portfolio. This is important not only for your future employment but also for certain examinations. The contents of the portfolio should include the following:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. CPD record since graduation
  3. Results of any audits you have carried out since graduation
  4. Personal development plan

Personal development planning for overseas dental practitioners

A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a tool that can identify areas for further development and encourage lifelong learning. A PDP can identify goals for the forthcoming year and methods for achieving these goals. PDPs have been advocated as a basis for continuing professional development (CPD).

People learn through study, experience, personal reflection and shared learning. Lifelong learning is not just about going on courses and it is now possible to access a wide range of learning opportunities including those involving IT.

The General Dental Council (GDC) is the sole competent authority for the registration of dentists in the UK. In order to remain on the dentists register, all dentists must carry out CPD. Every five years each dentist who wants to remain on the register must present evidence that they have kept up-to-date.

The PDP is simply a means of identifying your development needs and will help determine the best way to satisfy these requirements and ensure you are able to demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning. This process is part of clinical governance and it is a requirement that all clinicians in the NHS have a PDP.

A PDP will help you to identify areas of your professional life which need consolidating or updating. In addition, it will help you to identify your real qualities and prioritise your personal educational plans for the future


Review of Current Clinical Practice

1. Identify both strengths and weaknesses

  • Are you a a good dentist?
  • Do you perform well?
  • Are you up-to-date?
  • Do you work well in a team?
  • Are you as good at endodontics as you think you are?
  • How can you evaluate how good you are?
  • Do you feel de-skilled in certain areas?
  • Do you have nagging doubts that you may not be as good as you think?
  • Have you always wanted to learn more about periodontology?
  • Have you provided some clinical treatment recently that you think is a great example of your skills?
  • Have you had a real struggle with a procedure or technique and hope that nobody thinks this is all you are capable of?
  • Have you skills in patient management and could this be an area for development?
  • Do your work facilities let you down?

2. Analysis of your existing practice.

  • Are you keeping up with the GDC requirements for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)? - You must do 250 hours of CPD over each 5-year cycle. Of these, 75 hours must be verifiable CPD
  • What journals do you subscribe to/regularly have access to?
  • What professional associations/societies are you a member of or should consider joining?
  • Where do you go for formal postgraduate education?
  • Where else would you be prepared to go? How do you check their programmes?
  • Do you have internet access at work or at home?
  • What rewards do you need to keep yourself motivated? - Do you need acknowledgement of your endeavours such as a certificate of attendance or do you need more and need to enrol on a programme in order to get a professional qualification?

3. How can you support your educational needs?

  • Contacting formal education providers - Should you contact your old dental school or the nearest dental school? BDA library? Local postgraduate centre and libraries?
  • E-Learning - Where can you get help to allow you to use this medium, carry out reliable searches, and participate in activities?
  • Postgraduate lectures and hands - on courses - Are you prepared to travel if the courses you want to attend are not provided locally? How can you make best use of your local centre?
  • Distance learning - Have you thought of using this medium?
  • Reading advice – reading lists on common topic areas - Have you accessed services like this before? Would this help to organise your non-verifiable (general) CPD?
  • Common interest groups – local groups wishing to further themselves in general areas - Are there any such groups in your locality? What would be the commitment? Would it help to keep you focused and increase motivation?
  • Special interest groups – groups with specific and specialist interest  - Do you have a particular interest or strength you wish to develop? Are there such groups in your locality? What would be the commitment?

4. What do you have to change to achieve what you want?

You should now be ready to consider plans for your future educational activity. You can then transfer key action points to the personal development plan. This will allow you to set your priorities for learning.

5. Record of formal educational activity

This needs to be recorded and is your formal record. It is a way of focusing your thoughts and measuring the impact this may have on your practice. Formal educational activity includes distance, E-learning and computer aided learning as well as traditional postgraduate activities. Some topics can be covered by reading an appropriate journal or book and should be recorded as non-verifiable CPD.

When attending an educational activity it is important to know what you think you will get out of the activity and what you think will change as a result of attending/participating in this activity. Are you expecting to learn a lot of new things or just looking for reassurance. What would you recognise as being a successful achievement or outcome for this activity? Post-activity reflection will help you to decide whether the course had met your expectations and requirements.

Developing your own Personal Development Plan (PDP)

A PDP is personal and specific to an individual dentist. This is not something that can be copied from somebody else and can only be applied to you. If you need help in preparing your own plan, please contact the NACPDE for advice. The forms that have been included are intended only as a guide and can be modified. Alternatively it is possible to use another method of recording your information.